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It’s a process. (Maybe I should take it out of the box)

Published November 5, 2018 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

In the so-long-ago-it-seems-like-it-happened-to-someone-else, I made a stand and withdrew from the MA program at Texas Women’s University. I was young and had hope and a purpose so I picked a side, Process based evaluation vs. Product based evaluation.

It seems such a senseless argument, particularly for Theater program, but I firmly believe that there are some prices too high to pay for a performance and that, to some performers, the process is the goal.  If only I remembered that a scant nine years later when my brain exploded because I was trying to have the perfect body while being the perfect performer, but I digress.

Still and all, I’m where I have chosen to be career-wise, such as it is and overall, I think I made the right choice, as when push comes to shove, I want to go out knowing that I fought the good fight and did the best that I could.

That being said, I’m tired of waking up scared.

Not scared in that there are zombies trying to munch on my tenderized brain as I flee, a flurry of post-it notes in my wake.

No, I’m talking real fear.  The fear that comes from knowing you are doing your best and still watching yourself drown.

The house has sold. (Whee!) Now I have about 30 days to get everything out/sold/trashed and find somewhere new to live.  I’ve started sifting through the detritus of a dissoled marriage and stuff Steve left behind. There are  a few things that Actor Boy left when he went to college. There’s not a few things of BatBeard’s that I need to relocate.

And then there’s my stuff. I know it’s just stuff.  But it’s not just stuff.

It’s the piano, that I fondly refer to as August Wilson. My grandfather bought it for my mother when she was learning to play the piano. It was convereted from a player piano so it can’t be retuned; it needs to be restrung.

It’s books.  My favorites and a few that were gifts. It’s the book that is a compilation of Bob Dylan’s lyrics; the songs that got me through the days of madness as my parent’s marriage dissolved and I tried to finish college

It’s the drafting table. The last vestige of Fort Worth Theater. Steve Garrett rescued it from the rubble and it’s mine.

It’s the pictures. The oil painting that Steve had in his living room and the framed Georgia O’Keeve print that my mother had framed for my ex-husband.  It’s the pictures that have to be gone through, all of the wedding pictures that need to be stored or discarded because the frames might mean something to someone else.

Yes, it is all stuff, and I do have to process all of it. Very soon.

Because in all of the stuff, there’s the memories. There’s the TEN, 10, ten mason jars of pickled corn that my Esther Hembree put up for my ex, back in the days when there was a Homefort in Tracy City.

I have the jars and I am more than a little resentful that I have custody of the corn and the jars and I have to move and find a place for a piano because someone else screwed up. (Or down, you remember, girl with the little rat face and teeth that make an x in front.)

And then there’s the fear that it’s all ending anyway, so who cares?

Because, as you know, in the litany of choices I made, the biggest one involved me promising to keep my students safe.

We are in a world where that is becoming exponentially harder as hate spews from the mouths of those who have more guns, more money and more voice than the rest of us.

I know I have plenty to do without worrying about this, too, but I do.

It’s part of the process.

My mission, should I choose to accept it.

Published October 6, 2018 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

This was a challenging week and the fact that a bunch of politicians just told all of the women in this country that there is no punishment for hysterical, unstable men is just the cherry on the cake.

I have a headache. This isn’t news nor is the fact that everytime I have a headache I have to ask myself a series of questions to ascertain what kind of headache it is and if I will soon lapse into less than sentient state.

I had a headache yesterday; I left school early. School has been such a struggle for me this week that I am seriously wondering if I can do what is asked of me.

The group of students I have this year are the first generation of children who have never known life without a touch screen. It’s interesting and there are portions of my day that I can only cope by pretending that I am an anthropolgist studying a new tribe of cheeto eating beasts with short attention spans.

Week before last I got to the point where I can anticipate the bumps in my particular educational road and veer around and keep everything on the rails.

Then last week happened and I am faced with a challenge that I don’t know if I can handle.  The challenge is something that originally made me feel bitter and resentful and now I’m just sad.  I can’t get into it too specifically right now, but I was feeling so  much better when I saw my summative evaluation from last year: Could benefit from better organization, but students feel safe and happy in this learning environment.

I don’t feel like I’m capable right now.  Yesterday  we were working on a project designing a t-shirt for a person or organization that works for the greater good- One of my students wrote this on the example I had projected on the screen43154605_10217570015311291_4390089667576332288_n

I was touched, especially since this was created by two incredibly disruptive students.

I’m trying kids, I’m trying.

 

I think I may have just made that up

Published September 23, 2018 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I was talking to my Amanda Friend and Angry Old Guy, when I realized I may have made a word up that sounded  perfectly cromulent in context.

I was in mid-rant about the many, many things I am unprepared for that I have to face in the coming week, and I mentioned that I had enraged the Mom because I suggested that having a biopsy may be preferable to the conferences and in-services I have to attend this week.

I said, “I’m not being hyperbolic; I really feel that way.” By vocally providing punctuation, a correctly used semi-colon, I endorsed the usage of that word.

(BTW, the word does, indeed, exist. It is not, however, connected to linguistics; instead it pertains to mathematics. )

It’s amazing how a cleverly delivered phrase presented by someone who has a history of knowing what they are talking about can convince learned people that such a reality, etomologically speaking, exists.  (Boy, I just used a lot of big words. I am so SMRT.)

That was an awful long way to go to intro my current state of angst and panic (attorneys at law) It is my sincere belief that we as a people and community and republic, cluster, group, coven, family, tribe, club, etc are in a constant state of bewilderment because of the level and quality of input streaming into our collective consciousness.

This isn’t news or even a clever observation. It just is the way things are.

I have been reading some cleverly and thoughtfully worded essays on Medium.  Some of these essays are repostings by journalists and writers who have already published on other platforms.  (You should check out the sight, there are some cool things there.)

Most of what I have gleaned simply sharpens the fine point of what I am already thinking.

We are in trouble.

All of us.

No matter how you feel about immigration and politics, if you endorse mainstreaming the  traumatization of children you are part of the problem.  And the more you deny it, the bigger the problem grows.

People have stopped caring about each other.

I’m not sure why.  But we don’t have time to figure out the what and how.  We need to focus on the fix it now part.

 

 

How far?

Published September 3, 2018 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

My pal Charlie Parrish (Star of Stage and Screen and all around damn fine fellow) recently posted a video Check it out here.

I thought about this and it has been resting in the back of my head while the front of my head has been teaching, living and trying to sell my house without choking on my own rage.  My answer was immediate.

I will go as far as it takes.  Over the past several weeks I have mentioned that what I have been alluding to for as long as I have been teaching may actually happen this year.  I have told students that when I finally snap, it’s going to be huge.  I think this may be the year.

I grow weary of complacency in all of its forms.  I am tired, tired, tired of waking up in the morning and checking the CNN tab to see what fresh hell awaits on this day.   It is laughably absurd.

Truly, it is, I actually laughed out loud at a faculty meeting whilst we reveiwed safety procedures.  (It was one of my famous laugh so hard I can only squeak out a Muttley like hiss because I can’t breathe.)

School safety is no laughing matter.  But the absurdity peaked when I realized that I have been in all of the scenarios outlined in that video, including the possible creepy looking clown lurking in the neighborhood scenario.

The immigration situation hasn’t gotten much better. It seems that the last Republican with compassion and sense has died and our current adminstration had to be nagged into honoring his service to our country.

Let there be no mistake. A man who honored his country by making a sacrifice few of us could or would was not memorialized as he should have been because the President was having a tantrum.  Even the petulant, sycophantic Sarah Sanders indicated that this was a mistake. This is a woman who would pretend that global warming isn’t happening whilst looking at a polar bar fanning himself in the window.  (What’s a Metaphor? Sheep!)

I am currently listening to an audiobook that I am enjoying so much that I purchased a hard copy of the book.  This cost me about $15 dollars, or a tenth of my monthly consumables budget. (Consumables include, food, gas, cat food and toilet paper.)  The book is Vox by Christina Dalcher. I have been listening to it in bits and pieces and I know I will reread it because it is so good.

Vox is set in a dystopian world where women are only allowed to speak 100 words a day. Shocking (no pun or spoiler intended) to say the very least.  As the story unfolds in my ears, I cringe in horror and shock and fear. Because, like the Handmaid’s tale, it happens in the after. But unlike the Handmaids tale, it takes place only a year after.  The bits and pieces of how this happened are truly frightening.

They are frightening because the events are very, very close to what is happening right now.

Right now.

It started, in the book, with an administration who wanted to return to basic values. The figureheads spew rhetoric that is so absurd that people ignore it because surely they won’t be elected because some voice of sanity will break through.

It makes me think back to what my pal Charlie said,”How far are you willing to go?”

As far as it takes, my friend, as far as it takes.

 

Do you remember?

Published July 30, 2018 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I don’t often write about my brother.  This is because his alchoholism has made his behavior and demeanor unbearable and his open disrespect of our parents (when he is newly sober or drinking) intolerable.  I have limited my exposure to my brother because to be honest, I don’t need the Tsuris.

Today my brother was rushed to the hospital  because he had three seizures.  He is sober this morning (I know, not much to be proud of at 9 AM on a Monday) so we’re not sure where the seizures came from.

The Mom gave me the narrative.  Apparently one of the paramedics was less than polite.  Now I don’t know his life or if he, too, has an alcholic in his life who has made him tense and intolerant.  After asking if my brother was homeless,which, given his current, unshaven two days out of a three day drunk appearance, I can understand, when the other paramedic asked if the drawing up of my brother’s right arm was related to the seizure, the first paramedic said, “No, he’s just acting-(immitation of left arm flapping against chest.) At this point The Mom mentioned that my brother has cerebal palsy and that it shows on his right side.

Guess which part bothered me about that?

Here’s a hint:

It’s not ok to mock the handicap. Ever.

Ever.

But when our president, does it, the misinformed, intolerant and just plain crazy (world’s worst improv troupe.) think it’s ok.

BatBeard wishes I wouldn’t pay attention to the news.

But this is old news and verified by the good people at Snopes.

And when I googled “Donald Trump mocks” to find the link, five other stories popped up.

FIVE, so I had to get specific.

It’s upsetting to say the least.

For those of you keeping track-

Trump’s America has come the Gays.

They have come for the Muslims

They have come for the Mexicans

They have come for the children.

They have come for the poor.

They have come for the press.

Stop it. While you still can.

Brain-a- festo

Published July 27, 2018 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

Today is Brain Day.  It is the fifteenth anniversary of that time my head blew up (For those of you who are new to the game, I had a hemorrhagic stroke while perfoming the two-woman show, Parallel Lives with my pal, Merritt C Glover.  You can read all about it here)

For those of you new to medical studies, this type of stroke has a fatality rate in the high 90th percentile.  For those of you who are familiar with medical studies, you know that the further out you get from the initial incident, the higher your risk of death grows.  That percentage is about 86%. I see that as a 14% chance for me to ROCK!

So percentages and data aside, because if I wanted to crunch data I would and possibly be more financialy stable, but much less content.

The first thing I thought of today was for a much-missed actor pal of mine, Ryan Roach. He had a stroke five years ago. I prayed and hoped and wished for him to survive. He did not.  I do have a bit of survivors guilt over that.

I have had a lot of thought on my hands lately. Possibly because the country is in such upheaval , the price of zuchinni is sky high, and I just can’t get motivated for anything except lying perfectly still and looking at cat pictures on the interwebs.  (Has anyone tried that google extension that changes the pictures of Trump to pictures of cats? Fabuolous idea. Whoever came up with that should get a Peace Prize of some kind, because I’m pretty sure those kittens have calmed a few folk down.)

So as I try to remain calm, I have been thinking about who I am and what I am trying to do with my life.

I do acknowledge the feelings that I might actually be dead and all of the slings and arrows of my daily fortunes are just my journey through purgatory.  If that is true, I am terribly sorry for dragging the rest of you along with me, although, don’t you feel a bit better knowing that the state of affairs may just be a creation of worst case scenario whipped up by the Saint of whatever weird crap I have to go through?

Simply stated (I know, too late),my biggest why can be answered with “Because I have to.”

Everything I have said and done in this last year is because I have to.  I have cut off peripheral friends and alienated family members because I have to.  I have to say that I’m not ok with separating families.  I’m not ok with the current administration hassling the clergy for protesting. I’m not ok with Immigration going mad with power and grabbing up people right and left.  I’m not ok with the openly racist remarks and actions of people across the country who think it’s suddenly ok to hate out loud because that is the example they are seeing put forth by the President of our country.

I’m not ok with the disparity of opportunity across the nation.  Yes, I have always pretty tweaked about that, but it certainly doesn’t look like it’s going to get better any time real soon.

I am having a hard time making ends meet, financially. (Everyone knows I prefer stretchy clothes.)  No one gets in to teaching for the money.

Recently someone asked me how I got started teaching.  I explained that I started teaching theatre because I truly love the craft. (I feel like a huge hoser using that phrase).  From that point I noticed that many of the student actors couldn’t access the basic informaton they needed to craft a character or scene. So, I decided I would add English Language Arts and Social Studies to my teaching certification.  That grew into adding Science and Math to the group. Now I’m teaching five subjects in a self-contained classroom to students who are not only in a  socio-economic group but either are immigrants themselves or first generation in the United States.

My take home pay is easily half that of most of my colleagues (a rant for another time). I know that I have chosen to work here. But if nothing else, this extra fifteen years has taught me that all lives are precious. As an educator I truly believe that every child deserves a teacher who is passionately interested in their education.

So while it is a choice to teach in a school where every teacher truly believes in social justice and the fundamental rights of each and every student, whether they are full tuition or not.  Every teacher is just as scared as I am for the future of these students.

I can contribute to the future of my students.

Because I have to.

 

Because I can’t even, I may as well be odd.

Published July 15, 2018 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

Last night I had a nightmare. I dreamed that my kitten, Sabrina, originally belonged to somebody else and they came to claim her. Now, this is in no way possible because Sabrina is a rescue and I’ve had here for almost a month and unless someone owned her in utero (catero?) she is mine.

This is the second nightmare I have had in recent memory.  Upon waking I thought, “I want my mother.”  That gave me pause because I am forty-nine years old and because it made me think that the living nightmare that the refugee children are facing. I’m sure they all want their moms, too.

Let that issue put an icy finger of angina on your soul as I move on to the next thing.

Rodolfo Rodriguez was assaulted with a concrete brick as he walked down the street on his way to a park near Los Angeles. Because I can’t even you can check it out here.

The pictures of this poor man make me think of my grandfathers, but Senor Rodriguez looks quite a bit like my great grandfather, Refugio Aguilar.

Refugio Aguilar was a full-blood Tarascan Indian from Mexico.  He worked as a switchman for the railroad and once walked from North Fort Worth to Oklahoma for a job. He was married to  Isaura  Rodriguez.  He was her second husband.  We (my family) don’t really know what happened to her first husband because he was seperated from her and her children at the border.  (Ringing a bell with anyone out there?)  My generation doesn’t know much about this because no one will talk about it. There is one living child, my great aunt Katie, who might know something about it, but as far as I know, she won’t talk about it.   That happened three generations ago and my family is still facing emotional trauma over immigration issues.

In case you have room for another icy finger of angina, (I’m doing a kind of three finger monkey’s paw thing for those of you playing the home game.)  here’s another bit of maddening immigration news.

The Mom just started her new job as DRE (Director of Religious Education) at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.   This parish is about 85% Hispanic.  One of the priests is from Mexico. He has a Green Card. He is a priest. He is in the US to serve the Catholic Community of North Fort Worth. He is not here to open up an arms dealership or anything sketchy.

The Mom told me that ICE and Homeland Security pay regular visits To The Church to hassle the Priest about his paperwork.

Apparently the sanctuary thing doesn’t apply to priests.

This situation is giving The Mom nightmares

I can remember a time when it was okay to go to church or walk around and be Mexican at the same time.

Maybe THAT was all a dream.